The Resilient Pears: A Backyard Odyssey

Surviving Storms, Wars with Dad, and Endless Harvests

Read by Matilda Longbottom


Growing up, our backyard was a battleground of survival, with one constant: the unyielding pear trees. In a garden where Dad’s green thumb often turned deadly, these pears stood defiant against storms, blights, and his determined attempts at pruning.

As a child, the pear trees were a backdrop to my early years. Planted when our house was newly built, they transformed the barren backyard into a haven. Amidst evergreen soldiers and majestic red maples, the Kieffer pear trees, dubbed “hardware store specials,” held their ground.

Unlike meticulously tended orchards, our pear trees were wild, battling annual fire blights with Mom’s borrowed pole saw. Yet, their productivity was staggering, branches sagging under the weight of countless pears. Harvesting became a family affair, with Dad on a wobbly ladder and me dodging falling fruits.

These weren’t your supermarket’s juicy pears; they were the resilient “sand pears,” best enjoyed cooked. Despite their hardness, we turned them into crisps, pies, and gallons of canned delights shared during family gatherings.

However, the pears were not without challenges. Falling on any day, they attracted bugs, lady beetles, and a legion of yellow jackets. Disposal became a creative venture, from garden pits to pear-throwing competitions and unconventional games like Pear Golf and Pear Ball.

The pears’ true marvel lay in their survival instincts. Unfazed by hurricanes, ice storms, or Dad’s attempts at control, they stood tall. Even a fractured pear, held together by a makeshift splint, managed to heal and support itself. Meanwhile, Dad, armed with a hard hat, waged a war against the relentless pears, cursing as they fought back.

Eventually, Dad surrendered, calling in professionals to fell the indomitable trees. The day the pears came down marked the end of an era. The once fruit-strewn ground was now grassy, sunny, and empty, leaving behind memories of a backyard ruled by resilient pears.

In the cycle of life, even the toughest pears must bow to change, but the laughter, chaos, and love they brought will forever linger in our family’s history.

About the Author: Allyson Ernst is a master gardener from Harrison, OH. She enjoys her work in a children’s garden weeding, watering and being goofy. Her work appeared in GreenPrints Issue 131 & 137.



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